The number of basking sharks recorded in Britain’s seas could be increasing, decades after being protected from commercial hunting in the late 20th century.
The most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of basking shark sightings in UK waters, by the University of Exeter, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) and Wave Action, is published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.
The northeast Atlantic hosted an extensive commercial fishery for basking sharks, mainly in Norway, Ireland and Scotland, where more than 81,000 were killed between 1952 and 2004, hunted largely for their liver oil. Large-scale hunting ended in the UK in the middle of the twentieth century, though it continued at low levels in Norway until 2000. (more…)